Michael Behe

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Michael Behe

Professor Michael J. Behe (born 1952) is a controversial American biochemist and intelligent design advocate. Behe is noted for introducing what he calls "irreducible complexity", an idea that life is too complex at the biochemical level to have evolved.

Behe is professor of biological sciences at Lehigh University in Pennsylvania and a senior fellow of the Discovery Institute's Center for Science and Culture.

Behe's concept of irreducible complexity has been rejected by most in the scientific community, many of whom consider it to be creationist pseudoscience.



Behe graduated from Drexel University in 1974 with a Bachelor of Science in chemistry. He did his graduate studies in biochemistry at the University of Pennsylvania and was awarded a Ph.D. in 1978 for his dissertation research on sickle-cell anemia. From 1978 to 1982 he did postdoctoral work on DNA structure at the National Institutes of Health. From 1982 to 1985 he was assistant professor of chemistry at Queens College in New York City, where he met his wife. In 1985 he moved to Lehigh University.

Behe, a Christian, once accepted the scientific theory of evolution. However, Behe came to believe that there was scientific evidence that at a biochemical level, there were systems that were "irreducibly complex", meaning that he thought they could not have evolved, and thus must have been created by an "intelligent designer".

Lawyer Phillip E. Johnson had coined the phrase intelligent design in 1991 to describe what he saw a scientific evidence that life had been designed, though critics consider it a religiously motivated attempt to bring theology into science. In 1996 Behe became a senior fellow of the Discovery Institute's Center for the Renewal of Science and Culture (later renamed the Center for Science and Culture) the then newly-formed institution to promote intelligent design.

Behe published his ideas on irreducible complexity in a 1996 book called Darwin's Black Box. Some critics claim that Behe's argumentation is based on personal incredulity, not an actual impossibility of explanation for his examples.

While promoting his book and theory, his lectures do not include much tangible empirical testing {scientific data} - instead they feature broad generalizations, rhetorical arguments, and mentions of his Christian faith. He does not believe that natural selection never occurs - merely that in some cases Darwinian evolution can not explain all mechanisms at a molecular level. He posits that it is easier to explain these "irreducibly complex" systems through intelligent design than a developmental model.

Behe has written editorial features in the Boston Review, American Spectator, and New York Times.


External links

Pro-intelligent design


de:Michael J. Behe


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